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Why does this Hummingbird sound so GOOD?!


mikeselmer

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I just found a video that shows the bridge and saddle of Tim Christensen's Hummingbird in closeup...could somebody tell if there's anything special about it? Why does the saddle look filed (or something) under the treble strings? Any idea of the material? It looks whitr and sometimes a bit greyish in the videos I've seen.

 

The closeup is at around 1min point:

 

(BTW, for once, the guitar doesn't sound so super in this :-) )

 

Could somebody more knowledgeable please check the bridge saddle in this video (you can see it at 1min point)? Is it a normal bone saddle?

 

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The tone of my Hummingbird is kinda subdued in the mids department (nature of the beast?)...what could I do to get some meat in the mids? What strings would you suggest? Any other tricks?

 

As for string gauge, 11s seemed too weak in the bass, so I have 12s on now. I've tried Martin 80/20 (too bright), DR Rares (nice bass response but too bright trebles) and D'addario EJ16s (balanced sound, and the trebles have a nice, mellower and kinda somber quality to them). I'm tempted to try the D'addario Bluegrass strings, as they have thicker lower strings and thinner treble strings...could this boost the mids a bit?

 

Oh, and I find the guitar sounds the best tuned half a step down - this opens up the sound.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi all,

 

the search for my perfect Hummingbird tone is going great. I've been trying out various different strings (all PB) to get the best out of the guitar. I am still looking for something to get me more woody meat in the midrange. As it is, my Hummingbird seems to have a smiley sort of an EQ curve, and the mids are a bit subdued. When I try to squeeze more body out of the mids, they seem to have a pristine, brassy overtone, which I'd like to tame a bit.

 

Below is a brilliant clips of the mids tone I am looking for. Here, the mids have a more woodier, almost classical guitar type of earthy type of tone. The mids sound fat. Is it just a great piece of guitar, the player's fingers, or is there something I could try (saddle/bridge pin material, string type, string height etc). Please have a look:

 

 

Here's another:

 

Oh, I just realized that this thread is worthless without pics - sooo, here are a few shots of my beaten, cracked, repaired, refinished, un-original, but sweet sounding 1967 MOJO sweetheart [smile]

 

16820533865_76d01552bd_z.jpg

 

16632978728_706b6642dc_z.jpg

 

16200614773_cd2ce2be73_z.jpg

 

16820532895_1079350904_z.jpg

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For the record, the strings I've tried so far:

 

D'addario EJ16

D'addario EJ25

D'addario Bluegrass

Dean Markley Alchemy GoldPhos

Thomastik-Infeld Spectrum

Thomastik-Infeld Plectrum

John Pearse Bluegrass

John Pearse Phosphor Bronze

John Pearse Silk Phosphor Bronze

 

Out of these, the best ones seemed to be the standard D'addario EJ16 (really like the somber trebles and balanced tone) and Thomastik Spectrum (really responsive and warm and these really have that woodier midrange - however, I'm missing some more sustain, especially on the bass strings). Pearse strings seem to have sort of masked trebles - very sweet, but kinda strangled sounding. Otherwise the Pearses sound cool.

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I could record some sounds of the Hummingbird, but I don't have any recording equipment...only the internal condenser mic of the Ipad. I don't know if that gives a decent representation of how the guitar sounds...

 

Any tips on how to place the Ipad mic when recording?

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I don't know what year the guitar is but if you want a little more punch and snap in the Hummingbird report look for a early Montana guitar. Think '90 to 93. These were long scale versions and produce a different sound than the short scale guitar. I much prefer the short scale version but many enjoy the sound of the early long scale version. I will tell you this.... The Hummingbird sales took off when they went to the short scale. It's am much more vocal friendly version and the long scale was much better sounding as a instrumental guitar. More D-18 sounding.

 

If you take the flubber pickguard off and put a nice celluloid on one you will get a much brighter and clearer sounding guitar as well.

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After all this testing and the time I've spent with the Hummingbird, I've realised it has a LONG SCALE! I measured something like 12.65 inches from the nut to the twelfth fret, and doubling that comes to 25.30 (give or take mismeasurement - so maybe it's 25.5").

 

I am not sure how to feel about this new shock. Even if I like the tone, I was hoping to own a basic standard short-scale Bird...

 

What sort of tone differences am I looking at if compared to the short scale version from the same era? I have been struggling to get a bit more midrange meat in the tone - is the longer scale the reason for this? Plus, does a short scale guitar generally sound mellower and rounder?

 

I've been playing a lot with a capo around 3-5th fret because I like the tone the best like that - maybe another sign of me needing a short scale Hummingbird?

 

Isn't it a bit strange for 1967 to have a long scale?

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After all this testing and the time I've spent with the Hummingbird, I've realised it has a LONG SCALE! I measured something like 12.65 inches from the nut to the twelfth fret, and doubling that comes to 25.30 (give or take mismeasurement - so maybe it's 25.5").

 

I am not sure how to feel about this new shock. Even if I like the tone, I was hoping to own a basic standard short-scale Bird...

 

What sort of tone differences am I looking at if compared to the short scale version from the same era? I have been struggling to get a bit more midrange meat in the tone - is the longer scale the reason for this? Plus, does a short scale guitar generally sound mellower and rounder?

 

I've been playing a lot with a capo around 3-5th fret because I like the tone the best like that - maybe another sign of me needing a short scale Hummingbird?

 

Isn't it a bit strange for 1967 to have a long scale?

 

 

I just stumbled on this thread and when I saw that bird, I knew it was a long scale later 60 model. There's very little information on the web, but I believe they went long scale in 64 or 65. The longer length gives it a tighter sound and feel. When most think of a Hummingbird from a tonal perspective they think of a short scale loose warm tone so the late 60s models are bit unique.

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I just stumbled on this thread and when I saw that bird, I knew it was a long scale later 60 model. There's very little information on the web, but I believe they went long scale in 64 or 65. The longer length gives it a tighter sound and feel. When most think of a Hummingbird from a tonal perspective they think of a short scale loose warm tone so the late 60s models are bit unique.

 

Do you mean all 1967 Hummingbirds are long scale? Surely not?

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Do you mean all 1967 Hummingbirds are long scale? Surely not?

 

 

Yeah pretty sure they didn't go back to a shorter scale until the early 80s. Might be a reason why in the 90s when "reissue" was the buzz word for marketing, the Hummingbird was called the "early 60s Hummingbird".

 

Here are a couple of examples:

 

https://reverb.com/item/454588-vintage-1968-gibson-hummingbird-acoustic-guitar-natural

http://www.gbase.com/gear/gibson-hummingbird-1966-sunburst-top-natural

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In my book the hog squares didn't go long scale until 1968/69.

Never the less there were rare exceptions from the start.

Probably due to stock issues, Dove necks could land on a Bird the same way the Birds sometimes came with maple back'n'sides.

 

Thus 1967 shouldn't be a long-year and I'm tempted to ask you to measure the guitar again, , , but wont.

Perhaps exceptions continued to happen all the way up. .

A few years ago I encountered a square Southern Jumbo from the early 90's Gibson 100 Anniversary series and it had the long scale as well.

 

Don't know about the 70's and 80, but something tells me Gibson carried the longies through those decades as a kind natural thing.

As we know 'retro' wasn't really invented then and many Norlin specs were taken as a given standard. .

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I measured the scale again and this time it came right down to 12.75" at the middle of twelfth fret, so it really is long scale at 25.5".

 

It's puzzling that the information on when the long scale models were produced is so scarce.

 

What other models came with a long scale at that time? Dove was mentioned, but any others?

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